New Spanish Government Halfway through the current legislature
Only two weeks after having announced a parliamentary agreement on the national budget for 2018, the conservative Prime Minister, Mariano Rajoy was ousted from Government following a majority vote of 180 seats in Parliament in favour of a vote of no-confidence presented by the Socialist party on the 31st of May.
Sebastian Mariz, Fipra Spain shared the following insight on the change of Prime Minister in Spain and what it is likely to mean, in real terms.
The new Prime Minister, Pedro Sánchez, took office over the weekend of the 3rd and 4th of June, and according to his statements to the press, he has no intention of calling early elections and is aiming to remain as Prime Minister until after the regional and municipal elections of 2019.
With the new Prime Minister committing to respecting the national budget currently under negotiation in the Senate, and the ousted Popular Party promising to refrain from making any attempt at budgetary alchemy in the Senate, the policies and legislative initiatives set out in the budget will remain the same. These include: a firm commitment to budgetary discipline and to meeting budget deficit targets; indexation of public pensions and adoption of the digital tax on technological companies to finance it; higher salaries for civil servants and national police; and lower taxes for lower income households.
Nevertheless, in his investiture speech in the Parliament, Pedro Sánchez has announced several policy priorities for his new Government. He wants to significantly amend energy policy, derogating the tax on auto-generated electricity, introducing new subsidies for renewable energy, and adopting a new law on climate change and energy transformation. He also wants to adopt a social welfare subsidy programme for gas consumption amongst low income households, and to adopt new taxes on large corporations and on financial transactions.
Housing, greater public investment in R&D&it, gender equality and renewed relations with Spain’s autonomous regions are also amongst his top priorities. In this last respect he has been, while leader of the opposition, a defendant of amending Spain’s Constitution and moving towards a Spanish federation of states.
His cabinet, which will be appointed over the course of the upcoming two weeks, will be made up of an equal number of female and male ministers. Some of the names already on the preliminary roster, include Mertixell Batet, Adriana Lastra, and Odón Elorza, well-known and active MPs loyal to Pedro Sánchez , Jordi Sevilla, Josep Borell, and Carmen Calvo, ex-ministers under the Zapatero Governments of 2004 to 2011 and David Vegara, an ex- Secretary of State for Economic Affairs. José Luis Ábalos, Pedro’s right hand man is expected to be appointed either Deputy Prime Minister or Minister of Finance.
As for the mid to long term, with only 84 seats in Parliament, the Prime Minister’s expressed desire not to govern in coalition with the far-left Podemos party, and regional and municipal elections in May 2019, the Prime Minister’s desire of remaining in power as long as possible is likely to go unmet and general elections called for March 2019.